What’s inside the box, Mom? It was New Year’s Day, and my daughters, who were about 7 and 8 years old at the time, were filled with curiosity as I pulled a black vintage suitcase down from the top of our basement storage shelves and plopped it on the floor with a weighty thud.
I lifted the latches and opened the lid to reveal the treasures inside. This was the place where I tucked away small reminders of the times I held most dear. It was like a “Facebook Year in Review,” only you could touch it and it spanned 40 years of my life. The girls marveled at my 1st grade class picture, a medal for winning the 50-yard freestyle, a “terrible towel” that only a Steelers fan could appreciate, and assorted memorabilia that painted a picture of their mother’s past.
“Can we make a treasure chest too?” my girls asked. And that’s how a tradition was born.
We decided that each year, we would choose a few precious items that were nearest and dearest to our hearts and place them in a treasure chest. And we would only open the boxes on New Year’s Day. Together.
What fun it has been over the last decade to anticipate the big day and recount the special moments of our lives together. It’s like watching your favorite movie, looking forward to all of the best scenes, and then getting to add a few more.
Traditions keep people and families connected, not only while we are together, but especially when we are apart. And while many people set their goals and resolutions on New Year’s Day, I believe we learn much from reflecting on our past. Rummaging through our treasure chests, or just taking time to reflect, gives us a chance to appreciate the journeys that have brought us to where we are today.
Staying in touch with our past can also help us reinforce our values and remember what matters most. That can help when we consider where we want to go. And for my daughters and me, though we now open our treasure chests in separate cities, we continue to cherish a tradition that has allowed us to understand, appreciate and celebrate our shared past.